Reflection: Ancient Christian Doctrines Vol 5 – Resurrection of the Dead

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The Resurrection is one of the most important doctrines of Christianity. We can trace to it nearly, perhaps all, other doctrines to it. The early writers thought so as well:

Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there will be a future resurrection, of which he has rendered in the Lord Jesus Christ the first fruits by raising him from the dead. Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection that is at all times taking place. Day and night declare to us a resurrection. Clement of Rome, 1st Clement 24.

And this is why we believe that there will be a resurrection of bodies after the consummation of all things; not the cyclical idea that the Stoics affirm where the same things are produced and destroyed with no purpose in mind. Rather his is a resurrection once for all… Tatian, Address to the Greeks, 6.

And the Lifegiver will come, the destroyer of death, and will bring to nothing death’s power over the just as well as the wicked. And the dead will arise with a mighty shout, and Death will be emptied and stripped of all the captivity. And for judgment will all the children of Adam be gathered together, and each will go to the place prepared for him. The risen of the righteous will go to life, and the risen of the sinners will be delivered to death. The righteous who kept the commandment will go and will not come near to judgment in the day that they will rise; as David asked, “And do not bring your servant into judgment”; nor will their Lord terrify them in that day. Aphrahat, Demonstrations 22.15.

The one who does not believe in the resurrection of the flesh has no faith in what was said above, as the apostle says: “If the dead will not rise, then neither did Christ rise.” Whom will God judge and with whom will he reign if the resurrection does not restore to life and to judgment those whom death has removed from the world? Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 58.14

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